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Re: Tooth counts



A while back, someone asked how many teeth were in the jaws of dinosaurs. 
The following is information on ornithopod tooth counts from pages 294-295
of _The Horned Dinosaurs_ by Peter Dodson.  The ornithopods are famous for
their "pleurokinetic" dental batteries, and are renowned for the number of
teeth they possessed.

Charles Gilmore published notes in 1920 to the effect that _Trachodon_ (now
referred to as _Edmontosaurus_) had "over 2,000 separate teeth in the mouth
of one individual."  Dodson disputes this oft-retold claim, pointing out
that with a maximum of 6 teeth per vertical row and a maximum of 66 such
rows in each of the four tooth-bearing jaw elements (and only 60 such
positions in the specimen Gilmore described), an _Edmontosaurus_ skull
could possess at most 1584 teeth in an exceptional specimen (or 1440
possible in the specimen Gilmore studied).  Peter Dodson ascribes this
numerical discrepancy to Gilmore's estimate that "_Trachodon_" would have
possessed 10 to 14 teeth (rather than 6 teeth) per vertical row.

Dodson goes on to estimate a "generous" count of 704 teeth in a typical
crested duckbill, based on 40 to 44 positions with 3 or 4 teeth per
position.

This information was nested within the notes in the back of the book, which
make for quite interesting reading on their own.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>